Since the content and commerce company, PopSugar acquired PICT to create photos that users could conduct purchases through, shoppable media has gained significant traction across digital publications, video, and social platforms. Yahoo’s In The Know publication saw its shoppable, video-centric content increase gross merchandise value by 145% year-over-year, making this channel a formidable force in the eCommerce space.

Shoppable media’s appeal stems from its ability to directly link to products or services within ad units. This increases the chance of conversion by shortening the path from exposure to purchase in a seamless closed loop. In some cases, consumers can discover a product or service via an ad on a website or social platform and complete a purchase, all without leaving that environment. The result is mutually beneficial for both advertisers and consumers – driving sales for the former and creating convenient, relevant recommendations for the latter.

The three giants are shaping the shoppable media trends

An image showing a person selecting apps that sell services.

Many major platforms are experimenting with the format, from TikTok’s partnership with Shopify, Instagram’s shop tab, to YouTube’s direct response advertising units. It is not just social platforms embracing the trend, with shoppable ad units also becoming more common on publisher sites. Forbes, for instance, announced its collaboration with KERV Interactive to bring branded, shoppable content to its online publication with KERV’s video technology.  

Shoppable media isn’t just about click-to-buy ads or making the most of growing e-Commerce spend. It adds to the overall experience for customers by enabling fast interactions and streamlining their journey. For marketers to hit core objectives by utilising shoppable, they should optimise functions that deliver this value, such as product discovery; meaning shoppable media can provide relevant product suggestions based on the items consumers are interested in, prompting further consideration.

What more can brands do to get the most out of shoppable media?

1. Enable product discovery

In addition to driving sales, ad units can replicate the exploratory aspect of shopping. They enable consumers to delve into the details of a product or service and get their questions answered in creative ways, even if they don’t immediately make a purchase.

Shoppable ad units can also incorporate interactive elements such as video or augmented reality (AR) to bring a product’s features to life and enhance the shopping experience. Beauty brands such as Estée Lauder and Sephora, for instance, are using Pinterest’s shoppable AR feature to let users try cosmetics virtually. Shoppers can then simply swipe up to buy if they choose to do so.

2. Combine online and offline experiences

For expensive or high-consideration items where only a fraction of people will buy right away, shoppable media can incorporate a chatbot functionality to move consumers along the conversion path. Moreover, the ‘tap to map’ features included in the experience can drive to in-store visits.

For car manufacturers shoppable media is a particularly useful tool in helping consumers find their way around its vehicles. It could be used to answer the kind of general questions potential buyers have on everything from speed to safety, and all before they step foot inside a dealership. This can increase product consideration and ultimately entice in-person visits for test drives.

3. Bring in the relevant data

The industry is increasingly making shoppable ads more sophisticated, with platforms like Amazon already pioneers in this area. Advancing capabilities have meant brands themselves can bring information from a variety of sources, such as product feeds and customer databases, to inform the creative in their ads.

Furthermore, brands can draw on performance data from shoppable campaigns in real-time to continuously improve user engagement and even make changes at the product level. All of this means that even if ads don’t immediately drive a sale, brands will have a wealth of insight that can help them understand why. Further helping them to take steps to improve their efforts.

The pandemic unquestionably accelerated the growth of shoppable media due to its associated impact on consumer purchasing behaviour. But the trend is about more than taking advantage of an eCommerce surge and shortening the path to purchase.

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